Last monday, my almost 2-years-old niece had a little surgery, in one of her little hands. It was a 10 minutes surgery, but as a cut and stitches were involved, she had to be put under anesthesia, just to sleep. So, a 10-minute surgery in an adult becomes a 40-minutes surgery in a baby — the tricky part is to put her to sleep and then to wake her up.
She got a shot with a strong medicine to sleep, and became really groggy. I was out of the room when she got the shot, because I needed to buy some food to me and my sister, and when I came back, I was in the elevator heading to the hospital room, and luckly someone had called the lift in the same floor my sister was in, ready to enter the surgery room. When the doors opened, I saw nothing but my sister’s legs in her long white dress. She was in a wheelchair, with her daughter on her lap, and I could see in her eyes that she had been crying (my sister, not my niece).
“Hey sweetie, you’re going to surgery?” I asked, and I was truly cheerful.
My niece looked up to me with the eyelids half open. She is normally a very active, with a strong personality, sweet and brave little girl, but she was knocked out.
“Hummmm…” she said, and I laughed.
“Groggy, hum?” I said to my sister, that added, later in the room, that in the first moments after getting the anesthesia shot, she was laughing with no reason, and then, became sleepy and dizzy, without being able to hold the pacifier into her mouth, and not answering when someone posed questions.
When a woman passed by her, she said “Baaaaabyyyyy…” And my sister: “It’s not a baby, sweetie”. And she repeated “Baaaabyyyy, baaaaabyyy”.
After the surgery, she came back o the room, and after sleeping for a while, she woke up, and started staring at us as if she was drunk.
I *adore* my niece. And I know it was a stressful time for her, but I couldn’t help but laughing out loud. She would stare at me, and smile, as if she was so high (she was), and I couldn’t help myself. I laughed, and kissed her, and laughed again, and kissed her, and continued in this cycle for a few moments.
I know that surgery at such a young age is traumatic, and I’m pretty sure almost all of us have gone through a similar trial, be it for a serious surgery, be it for a small one, and I believe the fear that we’ve felt was probably quite intense.
When I was about three years old, I fell and cutted my head, and my mother said that in the hospital they had to tie me up to make the stitches, because I was kicking everybody. It was probably tough, and probably shaped much of who I am (maybe, I don’t know), and I was concerned about how this surgery could impact my niece’s life, but now I’m kind of thinking — “She’ll be fine too”.
I’m thinking about all times when I could have lessen my pain in my life by only laughing a little bit more. Not taking things just oh so seriously. I am so serious sometimes, I wonder why. That can really put yourself in the position to be caught in drama and unnecessary suffering. Now, I’m happy to feel a natural good humour growing inside me, however slowly.
I think that’s why I was laughing so much, instead of crying. We can get through difficult situations with a good humour attitude, as long as it is spontaneous and not forced. I used to be very resentful, and resisted to see humour in things, but I’m changing, and it feels good.
Of course, I’m not saying that we should laugh about any difficulty and painful situation. There are moments in our lives when we seem to have no choice but feel the pain or the sadness. But we’re not supposed to feel pain for a long time. When it’s ok to laugh, we should do it, because the laugh acts almost by an anesthesia itself.
My sister was also telling me the hardships her best friend is going through. Her mother and brother are currently unemployed, and she is now having to sustain the whole family, and therefore is working twice or three times more. It has been tough.
So, one day, my sister, who is going through a rather smooth period in her life, called her and said she was feeling anxious because her husband had dreamed about loosing a tooth, and she googled it and discovered thatn dreaming that you’ve lost a tooth can mean that someone is going to dye. “What if I am going to dye???”, she asked.
Her friend could just sight and breath deeply. Then, she said: “Darling, I’m working 14 hours a day. I don’t have time even to dye”.
That was it. My sister could not complain or feel anxious anymore. You can’t beat that, right?
Humour. What makes her best friend strong enough to cruise this turbulent times in her life is that she always had a resilient, spontaneous good humour.
And just to finish, I’ve remebered “David after the dentist”‘s video when I got home from the hospital — first time I’ve watched this video, I said to myself “If it was the mother taking him to the dentist, she’d never record it and laugh!! That’s what happens when the dad takes over”. But now I think I’m transforming myself in a dad-like mummy, at least when it comes to anesthesia.
“Is this real life?”
Wishing you a less dramatic real life.